With the improvement of IC operating frequency and integration, traditional leadframe packaging is out of use, and IC has to be packaged by substrates. By packaging mode, the mainstream IC substrates include BGA (Ball Grid Array), CSP (Chip Scale Package) and FC (Flip Chip), of which the latter two now prevail.
In 2012, the global IC substrate market will value USD8.67 billion. IC substrates mainly find application in PC, mobile phone and base station, particularly PC is the biggest consumer. Inside PC, CPU, GPU and Northbridge IC all employs FC-BGA packaging, featuring large packaging area, many layers and high unit price. CPU and GPU of smartphones use FC-CSP packaging, so does CPU of some feature phones. In addition to CPU and GPU, most of the IC in mobile phone (such as Bluetooth / WiFi / FM, CMOS image sensor, USB controller, GPS, Touch Screen Controllers, Audio Codec, MOSFET, DC / DC converter) adopt WLCSP packaging. The mobile phone IC shipment is huge, but with the small-sized substrates, the mobile phone IC substrate has a far smaller market size than the PC IC substrate.
IC substrate vendors are principally PCB manufacturers, yet the direct customers of IC substrate are the IC packaging companies. IDMs or IC Foundries produce IC die at first; then, packaging companies complete IC packaging; next, the products are delivered to IC design companies or IDMs, and finally shipped to electronics manufacturers. In general, packaging companies exerts greatest influence on substrate suppliers.
Taiwan IC packaging and testing industry ranks first in the world, with 56% market share, while Chinese Mainland packaging and testing industry just shares 3%. The reason why Taiwan has the developed IC packaging and testing industry lies in that Taiwan boasts the globally largest wafer foundries. 60% of the 50 nm (or below 50 nm) IC business is undertaken by TSMC. Nearly all IC in smart phones is fabricated by TSMC and UMC. Three out of the global top four packaging and testing corporations are from Taiwan. In the global IC substrate packaging market, Taiwanese players sweep more than 70% share.
Japanese manufacturers occupy the market of CPU, GPU and Northbridge IC substrate for PC. In 2012, NGK quitted, and its market share was taken by Taiwan’s Nanya PCB. Also, Japanese companies reign in the high-end market, they develop the FC-BGA technology with Intel and their positions remain quite stable. IBIDEN is building a base in the Philippines to lower prices. IBIDEN and Shinko focus on ABF substrates, both of which take no interest in BT substrates in the field of communications.
When it comes to the South Korean manufactures, SEMCO involves in the widest range of business. On the one hand, it obtains many orders from Qualcomm and Samsung Electronics. On the other hand, SEMCO also receives a small portion of orders from Intel or AMD. SIMMTECH, also a leading memory PCB maker, is mainly engaged in the memory substrate packaging. Memory PCBs will apply substrate packaging widely, in particular all of MCP memory PCBs may utilize substrate packaging in 2013.
Among Taiwanese manufacturers, Nanya PCB takes Intel as its major client, while Kinsus is a PCB supplier for Qualcomm and Broadcom, 90% shipment of which goes to BT substrate.
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Research on Global and China IC Substrate Industry
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